A great deal of planning went into this work. I had a general idea of trees turning into human body parts and went through several iterations and discarded attempts before I settled on the final composition. I had a group of friends pose for me and took photographs of their arms and hands as well as pictures of my own arms. I then went through dozens of past photographs I had of various trees around the world and went out and took additional photographs of trees in Houston. I was looking for weathered, barren, oak trees with gnarled twisted limbs. I combined the outline of actual trees for the silhouette and then used the various arm photographs to ‘flesh’ out the tree form. The background is from my own photograph overlooking the ocean in San Diego. I did a complete acrylic under painting and then painted over that with thin oil glazes. I finished this painting the week of the Tsunami in Asia and felt that it almost presaged that disaster in evoking the horror within the imagery. I strongly felt the emotion of those affected and felt that the painting was tapping into that as well. I want people to allow the painting to bring out their own strong emotions for whatever personal feelings it brings up for them. The image speaks to devastation in any form. The phrase ‘Dark Winter’ also references a governmental bio-terrorism simulation exercise where leaders cope with a fictional worldwide smallpox epidemic.